Democrats are worried that they could ruin their ability to attack Republicans in 2012 on Medicare if members of the party agree to cut benefits in a debt reduction deal.
This has been a recent topic of concern among liberal lawmakers involved in electing Democrats, according to a report from Washington Post liberal blogger Greg Sargent. (DEAL NOW, SPEND LATER: Obama urging debt agreement now to pave way for future ‘investments’)
“We shouldn’t be giving away our advantage on Medicare,” said a Democratic source familiar with Democratic Senatorial Congressional Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray’s private discussions, according to the report. “We should be very careful about giving away the biggest advantage we’ve had as Democrats in some time.”
“For the first time in the past two and a half years we have an unmitigated advantage on a single issue where our entire caucus is united,” that source told Sargent. “This is a case where the whole morale of our party was lifted by the fact that we were taking the fight to Republicans.”
Contacted by The Daily Caller, Matt Canter, a spokesman for the DSCC, declined to comment on the report, but referenced the Democratic attack line against the GOP, saying, “Voters will know that Republicans are the ones who’ve tried to end Medicare entirely and force seniors to pay an average of $6,000 more out of pocket.”
Sargent also reported that other liberals — including New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Alaska Sen. Mark Begich — have also “privately expressed frustration that deep Medicare cuts risk squandering the major political advantage Democrats have built up on the issue.”
“Schumer has consistently expressed the most concern,” another source told Sargent. “Schumer has been on this bandwagon for weeks.”
Republicans are asking for Medicare cuts as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling, but the White House has rejected those demands as the GOP won’t agree to supporting tax increases.